Fintech funding round-up: 26 July 2017
Bread but with the bluster removed. Following on from yesterday’s concise report, our latest fintech funding round-up keeps it brief. Features Cleo, Skype, ItzCash, Ebix and research from Innovate Finance.
The “Siri of personal finance,” Cleo, a virtual money assistant, has received £2 million in funding from Skype’s co-founder Niklas Zennström and venture capital (VC) firm LocalGlobe. Last year, Cleo got £700,000 from Zennström, among others. The money will be used for launches in the US and Australia; and to develop its product and expand its team.
The London-based start-up offers an artificial-intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot to help users manage their finances. The platform connects to bank and credit card accounts, enabling users to track spending, set budgets and receive reminders and alerts via text or voice commands. According to Cleo, since its launch in January, more than 50,000 people have signed up and are managing £400 million through its service.
Over in India, payments solution provider ItzCash has got an extra $100 million in funding from Ebix, a US-based vendor of on-demand software and e-commerce services to the insurance sector. As reported in May, Ebix took an 80% stake in ItzCash for $120 million.
According to Ebix, the funding will be used to expand operations at the Mumbai-based company and power growth through unspecified acquisition plans. The Hindu BusinessLine points out that the funding also came in two days after ItzCash’s founder Naveen Surya quit the company after selling his entire stake.
Innovate Finance, a UK-based fintech membership association, is singing the praises of the country – with figures that reveal VC investment for UK fintech firms increased by 37% to $564 million, “despite Brexit and the future uncertainty between European markets and the UK’s financial services sector”. Both Q1 17 and Q2 17 were higher than Q1 16 and Q2 16 by 45% and 22% respectively. (This is a turn up for the books, because in February, Innovate Finance’s research showed that doubts over Brexit had created a 33.7% decrease in UK VC investment for fintech firms.)
The latest UK figures are a contrast to global VC investment for fintech in H1 2017, which attracted $6.5 billion of VC investment with 787 deals, a 45% decrease year-on-year (YoY). While total global investment dropped, the US attracted the most investment both in deal value, which topped $3.3 billion, and deal volume, with 357 investments in total. China, which raised the largest amount of VC investment in 2016, dropped to second place with $1 billion of investment compared with $7 billion in H1 2016, a 86% decrease YoY.